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Olimpia overcame a nine-point deficit and foul trouble to defeat Efes 75-71 in a huge night


Olimpia kept its composure when it went down by nine early in the game, nothing was going in offensively (2-for-11 from two in the first quarter), all the guards had foul troubles to deal with and Nicolò Melli also had a nightmare night in terms of fouls. “We had many reasons to lose our mind, we responded raising the defensive intensity and moving the ball better, we responded with a quality game,” Coach Ettore Messina said commenting a 75-71 impressive win over the European defending champions of Efes Istanbul. Olimpia used a terrific 14-0 run to run a nine-point deficit into a five-point lead late in the second period, then used another masterpiece in the third quarter, extending the lead to 14 points. Efes attempted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, at one point got within three. Dinos Mitoglou pushed Efes back by hitting a three and then a mid-range jumper. Olimpia never looked back again. Malcolm Delaney had an outstanding night, scoring 16 points with five assists and mounting a terrific defense over the Efes guards. “They started the game using three bigs and their size took up all the space and we couldn’t open up the floor, because of their huge size,” Coach Messina pointed out. But the defense worked extremely well: the incumbent MVP, Vasa Micic, scored 15 points in the first 14 minutes and two for the rest of the night. “I’m happy with the minutes that Gigi Datome gave us tonight – Messina added – He made some big shots that helped us when we were struggling a little bit.” Datome had 11 points, he was instrumental both in the second and third period. In the second half, he started to match Efes’ big lineup then he stayed on the court when he was facing the smaller but much quicker Rodrigue Beaubois. Devon Hall had another superb game, the fourth straight he had scoring in double figure, a great feat for a first year EuroLeague player. Because of the fouls that limited Rodriguez, Melli and Grant too, Hall, Shields and Mitoglou stayed on the court for more than 29 minutes, Hines more than 28. “All the guys that played many minutes defended, moved the ball well,” Messina added while Olimpia is now 4-0.